Of all the new cars for sale that we review here at Lotpro, the Honda Civic Natural Gas edition is one of the more interesting. Not because it's necessarily new, the 2012 edition will be the 9th such natural gas model. And not because it differs greatly from the standard Civic which we video reviewed in our 2012 Honda Civic review.
No what makes this new Civic interesting is what it brings to the discussion in term of how we drive in the future. A reliance on foreign oil drives the future away from strict gasoline dependence, but questions of charge time and range still nag electric vehicles. When the natural gas Civic arrives in your local Honda dealer starting next month, it will renew a conversation in a third direct, of alternative fuels.
With a traditional gas engine you fuel up at a gas station. With an electric you have the advantage of charging at home, or at a charging station, but the process takes time. With a natural gas car, you can take advantage of the same gas lines powering your stove to fuel your car with the help of an adapter. You can also fuel it like a gasoline engine at specialized Compressed Natural Gas stations (CNS) giving you the benefits of both along with cheaper fuel cost.
The problem however is that CNS stations are still fairly uncommon. Natural gas cars for sale in Houston, TX for example have a choice of only three fueling stations in a 25 mile radius of the city. However your local Honda dealers near some of the older natural gas Civics are surrounded by much better infrastructure. Los Angeles alone has 67 fueling stations in a 25 mile radius for example; showing that over time the support system will grow, if there is a demand for it.
One thing we did not mention in our 2012 Honda Civic review is the vehicles 13 gallon fuel tank size. It's only worth noting because the natural gas Civic's tank only carries 8 gallons with a city mpg of 27 and highway mileage of 38. Hardly Chevy Cruze territory, and certainly out of range of a Prius, but if you want to make a difference on tailpipe emissions the natural gas edition is lowest polluting of all new cars for sale.
Which is good news for H.O.V. drivers, the low emissions means you don't have to care pool to use them, giving extra incentive to Honda buyers to save the planet. Just don't look for any discounts; there are very few Honda incentives other than some modest financing on any cars for sale let alone this newest model. Still if you're green minded and commuting in an area with a growing natural gas infrastructure like Houston Texas, then latest Civic is an appealing option.